Streaming Legislation Introduced

A bill introduced in both houses of Congress seeks to even out disparities in royalty payments among all Internet radio and streaming music providers. Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jared Polis (D-CO) have sponsored the “Internet Radio Fairness Act” in the House, while Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) [PICTURED] has done the same in the other chamber.

The measure requires that the Copyright Royalty Board comprise judges who meet a set of minimum standards, and be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The legislation further ensures that the Board apply the same rate criteria to streamers, satellite broadcasters and radio stations.

According to Rep. Chaffetz, “This bipartisan legislation levels the playing field for Internet radio services by putting them under the same market-based standard used to establish rates for other digital services, including cable and satellite radio. It’s well past time to stop discriminating against Internet radio.”

Radio Responds

The NAB released the following statement about the Internet Radio Fairness Act:

NAB appreciates the leadership of Reps. Chaffetz and Polis and Sen. Wyden and strongly supports legislative efforts to establish fair webcast streaming rates. NAB will work with the bill’s sponsors and all interested parties to create broadcast radio streaming rates that promote new distribution platforms and new revenue streams that foster the future growth of music.

A Clear Channel statement said,

We share the view of Representative Chaffetz and Senator Wyden that fundamental aspects of the system governing sound recording licensing royalty rates are out of sync with the realities of the 21st century marketplace and must be fixed. This legislation is an important part of that process. We believe that the rate setting process and royalty standard for the CRB’s determinations must support rather than stifle the growth of digital music for the benefit of consumers, artists and businesses — helping consumers gain more access to their favorite artists, assisting artists in reaching as many listeners as possible and enabling the digital music industry to flourish with a sustainable business model.

We look forward to working with policymakers and business leaders in the coming months to develop the kind of fair music licensing rate setting royalty standard that benefits artists while reflecting both consumer preferences and the business realities of the 21st century.